Thursday, November 24, 2016

No Starvation Zone

The Assad siege and assault on Aleppo is both gaining ground and choking the civilians left in the rebel-held portions of the city. Assad and Russia don't seem to feel any urgency to prevent starvation:

Syrian rebels in besieged east Aleppo have agreed to a U.N. plan for aid delivery and medical evacuations, but the United Nations is awaiting a green light from Russia and the Syrian government, humanitarian adviser Jan Egeland said on Thursday.

With freezing winter conditions setting in, about 275,000 people are trapped in east Aleppo, where the last U.N. food rations were distributed on Nov. 13.

Russia and Assad sent a message to Turkey to back off:

The Turkish army blamed the Syrian regime for an air strike on Thursday in northern Syria that killed three soldiers, the first time it has accused Damascus of killing its soldiers since launching its three-month military incursion.

The incident came on the first anniversary of the shooting down of a Russian military jet over the Syrian border by the Turkish air force.

The timing was unlikely to be random. Nor was the target likely random or an error.

I'm guessing the purge-wracked Turkish army is in no position to carry out large-scale operations to save Aleppo.

I still think a no-fly zone over Syria when Russia is in the mix is too risky.

But why not start air dropping humanitarian supplies to civilians in eastern Aleppo with longer ranged GPS-guided parachute systems?

A no starvation zone that openly helps Aleppo's besieged civilians might buy some time and give besieged Syrians everywhere hope--if not yet a reason to give thanks--that they can continue to resist Assad.

Mind you, I still think that controlling Aleppo is likely a bridge too far in the long run, but it would be better for rebels to continue to hold the city.